VIU holding International Disabilities Day

1128  - Vancouver Island University is host to its sixth annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the main cafeteria (Bldg 300). It is the largest community event of its kind in the mid-Island with 25 different advocacy and community groups attending.  

This year’s theme, Transformation Toward Sustainable and Resilient Society for All, shines a spotlight on universal access, and what living in a truly accessible place means. Each year, VIU Disability Services hosts a fun activity to increase awareness for people living with disabilities, with the goal of building a more accessible and accepting society. This year’s event is an Artists’ Corner, which will feature four artists throughout the day.

People with or without disabilities are encouraged to attend and learn more about services available in Nanaimo. Participating community groups include Nanaimo Brain Injury Society, Nanaimo Special Olympics, Nanaimo Nitro Power Soccer, Nanaimo Association of Community Living, Nanaimo Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Services, No Obstacles for Vision Impaired (NOVI), Nanaimo Multiple Sclerosis Society and many more.  

To learn more about this United Nations initiative, click here.

University community targets gender-based violence

1127 - Vancouver Island University (VIU) students’ Union (VIUSU), the VIU Faculty Association and ResTide are spearheading 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence events during the United Nations international campaign, which VIU is honoured to be a part of.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence begins Saturday, November 25 on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and runs until International Human Rights Day on December 10. The campaign originated in 1991 at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

 Throughout the 16 Days of Activism campaign, videos featuring various members of the VIU community and anti-violence messages will be shared through social media.

 Events held on VIU’s Nanaimo campus include:

  • November 27 – December 8: The Clothesline Project, held in collaboration with Haven Society, invites people to write and hang messages against violence in the Upper Quad. The community clothesline engagement event is November 29 from 11:30 am to 1 pm;
  • November 29 – December 1: The Thrive Drive, held at VIUSU’s office, is raising money and collecting much-needed items for the Nanaimo Women’s Centre;
  • December 6: A vigil at the VIU Memorial for the women killed at École Polytechnique on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women starts at 2:30 pm;
  • December 6: Stitch ‘N’ Bitch feminist embroidery gathering from 3 – 6 pm at Building 355, Room 211;
  •     November 25 – December 10: Honouring the Lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Red Ribbon Project, held throughout the 16 Days. People asked to tie a red ribbon on the staircase railings between the campus rainbow stairs and the Kwulasulwut Garden.

Kenyan college delegation tours VIU trades program

Haron Asiago, Industrial Liaison Officer with Kisii National Polytechnic, checks out the tools being used by VIU Carpentry students Natalie Speirs, left and Karly Atkinson during a whirlwind tour of the Nanaimo Campus’s trades programs. Photo/ Vancouver Island University

1123 - Faculty and staff from Kisii National Polytechnic in western Kenya got a whirlwind tour of Vancouver Island University’s trades programs last week. 

Five faculty and staff members from Kisii spent a week observing various VIU trades programs. The delegation was here as part of a partnership between the two institutions to develop a more hands-on curriculum for Kisii’s building trades programs that is better-aligned with industry needs.

“We want to develop a curriculum that can be flexible so it matches the requirements of the building industry,” explains Athanas Mokaya, Principal of Kisii National Polytechnic. “The youth unemployment rate is high, and at the same time it is a struggle to find skilled tradespeople in a number of areas. We need a lot more industry input to ensure the training matches the needs.”

The middle class in Kenya is growing and there’s a strong demand for new housing, he added.

Peter Nyaribo, head of Kisii’s Building and Civil Engineering Department, was taking close inventory of the equipment available to VIU students. Kisii’s building trades programs include certificates in carpentry, plumbing and masonry, and diplomas in building technology and civil engineering. He plans to lobby for better equipment for his own workshops, as they currently use mainly hand tools.

“If we have this kind of equipment, our students will be better prepared to go out and work,” he says.

Deanna Littlejohn, an Instructor in VIU’s Electrical Program, says even if students end up getting work with an employer that still uses mainly hand tools, if they have experiences with power tools, they will be able to advocate for more efficient equipment on the work site, improving industry standards from the bottom up. 

While at VIU, the Kenyan delegation also learned about applied research and interactive teaching approaches from VIU faculty members in Trades and Engineering. The group also spent time with the University’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, attended a program advisory committee meeting for the automotive department to see how the University interacts with industry, and met with the University’s Planning and Analysis office to determine how to test whether programs are meeting industry requirements.

Aside from creating a more hands-on curriculum that better meets the building industry’s needs, another area of focus is on increasing the number of women entering the trades.

“We struggle with that in Canada as well, so we’ll be working together on strategies that benefit both institutions,” says Darrell Harvey, International Projects Coordinator. “There’s tons of two-way learning happening.”

The visit was part of a three-year, $1.67-million partnership through the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP), an initiative of Colleges and Institutions Canada (CICan) funded by Global Affairs Canada. VIU is working in consortium with Humber College, Durham College and Selkirk College to develop and enhance training programs in mechanical engineering, renewable energy and building technology at three Kenyan colleges.

A team from VIU went to Kenya last June to lay the groundwork for the work ahead. Before coming to VIU, the Kenyan delegation spent a week learning about leadership and change management, gender mainstreaming and environmental sustainability with VIU’s partner, Durham College.

Over the next year, VIU and Kisii faculty will work together on curriculum development and equipment acquisition. After that, the partners start training Kisii faculty and staff in hands-on, practical teaching techniques, and how to use the new equipment.

To view VIU news online, visit VIU News

Giving Tuesday campaign has a $150,000 target

On Tuesday, November 28, all the money you spend on food in the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union Pub will go towards scholarships and bursaries through the University’s Giving Tuesday campaign. Jesse Bixby, left, Janelle Wilson and Austyn Lorimer show off one popular menu item. /Vancouver Island University photo

1119 - Students, staff and faculty at Vancouver Island University (VIU), as well as the University’s community supporters, are banding together to make a difference in the lives of students on Giving Tuesday. 

 

Giving Tuesday is a global movement for giving that falls on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this day, people are invited to get together to raise money and awareness about favourite causes and think about others.

 

During VIU’s fourth annual Giving Tuesday campaign on Tuesday, November 28, all friends of the University are invited to donate to the VIU Foundation as part of the campaign. VIU aims to raise $150,000 to support students.

 

“If you’ve been thinking about making a difference in the life of a student at VIU, this is a good day to do it,” says David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager. “You can choose where you want your money to go. You can donate – or create – a specific scholarship or award, or funnel the donation to a particular faculty or program you’re passionate about. You can also give to the Inspiration Fund, which supports the areas of greatest need.”

giving.viu.ca/givingtuesday

Complaint filed over inaction on student's sex fetish

1117 - The former director of human rights at Vancouver Island University has filed a harassment complaint against the school, alleging it failed to act after a student imposed his sexual fetish on non-consenting women.

Katrin Roth filed the complaint with B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal, claiming VIU did nothing to protect students and employees from a male student in his 40s who has what she believes to be paraphilic infantilism.

It's a sexual fetish described as having the desire to role-play as an infant, including wearing diapers or drinking from a bottle.

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Addictions studies program at VIU launches rewarding careers

VIU Psychology Professor Dr. Elliott Marchant started the Addictions Studies program because he wanted to teach students that addiction is not a simple problem that can be explained by one theory. Come out to an info session about the program, as well as VIU's harm reduction forum, on November 15. Photo: Vancouver Island University

1110 - Meg Hansell loves helping people turn their lives around.

The Vancouver Island University (VIU) alum graduated in the spring with an Addiction Studies Certificate and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and was immediately hired at Edgewood Treatment Centre. 

“I love helping people fundamentally change their lives,” says Hansell, a Junior Counsellor at Edgewood. “They enter treatment in a hopeless place, and they leave with the ability to live full and productive lives – free from substance abuse. It’s just such an amazing transformation to watch. It’s not easy work, but it’s certainly rewarding.”

Hansell says VIU’s Addictions Studies Certificate helped her get the job she has now. Developed by Psychology Professor Dr. Elliott Marchant, the program is intended to be taken as part of a degree or to supplement a degree. It can be tailored by students to fit into their primary area of interest, such as counselling or police and social work. Students choose from a collection of courses in eight different departments that offer a variety of perspectives on addiction.

 “The combination of courses gives you a deep understanding of the neurobiological basis of addiction as well as the social aspect,” she says. “You finish the program more prepared and able to interact with people with addiction.”

 Another aspect of the program Hansell found helpful is that Marchant brings in a variety of guest speakers working in the field, including representatives from Edgewood. Talking to people working in the industry helps students gain a broader understanding of where they best fit. 

 After working in the field for a while, Hansell plans to go back to graduate school and her ultimate goal is to one day run her own research centre.

 “We’re still uncovering how addiction works in the brain, it’s one of those unresolved areas,” she says. “You ask someone what addiction is and there’s no real concrete answer to that question. We don’t understand this concept fully, and that sparks my interest.”

 The Addictions Studies Certificate has been available for just over a year, and the first graduates crossed the stage last June. Marchant says he started the program because he wanted to teach students that addiction is not a simple problem that can be explained by one theory.  

 “There isn’t another program like it in Western Canada,” he says. “It’s a theoretical certificate – I’m not trying to train clinicians, I’m trying to train people to think about the bigger picture.”

Students from various programs are enrolled, including psychology, criminology, sociology, child and youth care, and education.

“The program includes a huge amount of cross-facilitation between departments and students choose courses based on their area of interest and how it interacts with addictions – the current fentanyl crisis is not solvable by one approach,” says Marchant.  

As part of National Addictions Awareness Week, Marchant is organizing an information session on Wednesday, November 15 from 7 – 8 pm in Building 180, Room 134 on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus. Anyone who wants to know more about his program is welcome to attend.

 His information session takes place right after VIU’s Harm Reduction Forum called Risky Business: Staying Safe & Substance Use. The forum runs from 5:30 – 6:30 pm in the same room as Marchant’s info session and is meant to provide a platform for dialogue about the opioid overdose crisis in Nanaimo.

The forum will include representatives from the RCMP, Discovery Youth & Family Services, Island Health and VIU’s Health and Wellness Clinic. It will be followed by a resources fair, naloxone training and pizza from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

Renowned poet Fred Wah comes to VIU

Fred Wah

171019 - From rivers and creeks to the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Fred Wah’s poetry is immersed in water.

The BC poet, who is best known for founding the influential literary magazine TISH in the early 1960s, winning the Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1985 and a stint as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2011; has been writing about water all his life without realizing it.

 Wah is excited to share this passion with Nanaimo as Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2017. As the Gustafson poet, he will participate in three events, including a free reading and a lecture that are both open to the public on October 25 and 26. At these events, he will share how his preoccupation with water recently spilled into a larger project – a poem about the Columbia River written in collaboration with Vancouver poet Rita Wong that is “as long as the river.”

MORE AT VIU News.

 

VIU students will national award for work on MBA Games

Vancouver Island University photo

171016 - Members of the VIU MBA Games competing team proudly display the Queen’s Cup, given to the event’s overall winner. From left: Gurleen Kaur, Navin Yadav, Nneka Otogbolu, Hailey Millet and Adtya Kumar. Otogbolu also won the CBIE Elizabeth Paterson award, along with three other VIU MBA students, who were on the National MBA Games organizing committee when the Games were at VIU. 

Learn more about VIU’s Graduate programs here.

VIU unveils unique mobile mass spectrometry lab

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is unveiling a world-class research vehicle, the Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, during an official opening event. A brief announcement will be followed by a demonstration of the mobile lab in action.

 The Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab, a.k.a. the Mass Specmobile, is unique in Canada and allows scientists to conduct leading-edge research related to air and water quality. The high-tech innovations include the ability to continuously measure trace level contaminants from a moving vehicle and on-site in real-time. In addition to providing excellent research training opportunities for students, this new facility gives researchers the ability to quickly identify, measure and track the movements of contaminants and provide information crucial to the protection of human and environmental health.

 The Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab and its equipment was developed at VIU by Dr. Erik Krogh and Dr. Chris Gill, co-directors of VIU’s Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL), and VIU students thanks to a $1-million investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and BC Knowledge Development Fund.

VIU online auction will help students

Whether you like golfing, skiing, hockey or fine dining, VIU’s Online Auction has a package for you to bid on, as David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager, demonstrates. All proceeds support students in financial need. Photo: Vancouver Island University

171012 - Finding the money to pay for important things like textbooks, childcare and essential learning equipment like a laptop computer can be hard when you’re going to university. 

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Online Auction aims to help. Every year, local businesses donate prizes that people can bid on, with all proceeds going to student awards, equipment and learning opportunities. This year, prizes have been grouped into experience packages with themes ranging from travel, spa and golf getaways, to dining experiences and even a tattoo package.

 The bidding starts Thursday, October 19 at 9 am and closes Thursday, October 26 at 9 pm.

 “What’s nice about the Online Auction is there’s something for everyone in the prize packages, whether you like to travel, enjoy the outdoors, shop or do things with your family,” says David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager. “Lots of our regular bidders like the fact that 100 per cent of the proceeds go towards supporting students in need - so they’re getting something they really want and helping others at the same time. Plus, with the holidays coming up, it’s a great opportunity to get a head start on your shopping.”

To learn more or bid on items, visit auction.viu.ca. This link will be live Oct. 19.

Red Seal standard available for VIU hairdressing students

Hairdressing Foundations Program alum Gabrielle Mayor plans to return to VIU to complete her Red Seal certification in the next two or three years. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

1011 - Vancouver Island University (VIU) Hairdressing student Gabrielle Mayor loves everything about her chosen trade, from cutting and colouring hair to creating elaborate up-styles.

 It’s a creative trade where she’s always learning something new, constantly reading up on the latest trends to stay relevant and building close relationships with people so she can meet their needs. But until this year, Mayor felt that people didn’t always take hairdressing seriously as a trade.

 Starting this year, students entering VIU’s Hairdressing program will be eligible for Red Seal endorsement - standardized training that’s recognized across Canada. The change has meant that the Hairdressing program at VIU is now a two-level program with a standardized exam and assessment at the end.

READ MORE AT VIU News.